I recently celebrated my birthday. I have always tried to incorporate ideas and traditions that I like, into my life. One of the ideas I really like, is that of sharing of food with friends and loved ones, on your birthday. This is your birthday, your special day, and you to want to share it with the people you love. This is my gift to you, thanks for sharing my birthday with me!
I have worked in healthcare for many years, that’s where I first learned of this tradition, in the Filipino culture. Sharing of food with friends, family and co-workers, on your birthday is a common practice. I was fortunate to have been invited into these “birthday bashes” on many occasions. I can still “smell” the lumpia and the pancit noodles.
On my most recent birthday, I continued a tradition I started about 5 years ago, taking all of the interested Sanchez brothers who wanted to go, out to breakfast, lunch or dinner; their restaurant choice. This year, I was able to take Miguel and Jesus to their favorite restaurants (For context, see previous blogs, “All Life is Sacred”, “Other People’s Lives”, “My Eventful Day”, “Recognizing and Appreciating Life’s Small Accomplishments”, “The Importance of Having Fun and Being Happy“, “On Being Hopeful and Hope-filled” & “Understanding the Whole Picture”).
Jesus had never been to IHOP and he wanted to go there, that was his choice. The nice thing about eating at a restaurant is that you get to be with your guest, at the same table, looking directly at each other (at least, that’s how I arranged it). He ordered some decadent waffle dish with loads of sugar. We got to talk about important, life-changing issues that are quickly “coming due” for him. Jesus, at 19, will soon be a dad, ready or not. Being able to “help him look forward” and understand all his future responsibilities, was rewarding. Hopefully I have instilled these ideals in his consciousness, time will tell.
Miguel wanted to eat dinner at his favorite Italian restaurant in the “Little Italy” area in San Diego. He especially likes it for the ambiance. They have hundreds, maybe thousands of Chianti bottles hanging down from the ceiling and according to him, the best pizza around. Miguel is a waiter at a local resort hotel so he likes to visit different restaurants and observe what goes on in with the staffs. We got to connect in a meaningful way, looking directly at each other with no distractions. I am teaching Miguel how to drive and he is doing well. It gives him a sense of accomplishment which in turn helps build his self-esteem.
I feel fortunate to be a part of his growth.
I am thankful for this birthday tradition. It allows me meaningful time with people I really care about. I am blessed!